Every day we are faced with new challenges for finding food that is nutritious and sustainably sourced. You may recall the “Clean 15” and the revelation that some produce doesn’t have to be specifically organic in order to be safer for consumption. This categorization includes produce containing little or no pesticides, like pineapples, avocados, grapefruits and onions. But one colorful vegetable takes the crown among potatoes – Sweet potatoes.
Apart from being largely pesticide-free, sweet potatoes have fewer calories than common potatoes and are a source of essential micronutrients like vitamin C and manganese. In addition, sweet potatoes can be adapted to replace traditional potatoes in almost any recipe, and are great for juicing.
This article details an easy way of growing sweet potatoes in your own home so you can cook up delicious and nutrient preparations that will feed a crowd.
- Start with the right sweet potatoes: select ones that have already sprouted, which indicates they are pesticide-free and able to reproduce themselves.
- Create a warm environment: although other tubes are planted outside, sweet potatoes prefer warmer places. They’ve been seen to respond much better to room temperature, so make sure you store them in a place at least 50°F (10°C), and always place them in a well-ventilated place, to avoid fungal growth.
- Top exposè: once you have a potato (or potatoes) with liberated roots, place inside a 5-gallon bucket of moist soil with almost half of the top (lengthwise) exposed. Refresh with water every now and then to maintain a good level of moisture in the soil. Use a bucket with holes in the bottom for drainage.
- Hello splits: after a period of approximately 90 days, your sweet potato plant will start shooting out slips. Once they’ve become long enough to be planted (6 to 12 inches) – as shown in the picture – you´ll need to put them in a bigger container, ideally a 20-gallon bucket for each six slips (green shoots).
- Perfect time of the year: make sure the last frost of spring has already passed. Remember sweet potatoes prefer warmer weather, so late spring is the perfect time of the year for planting.
- It’s harvest time!: after a period of 3 to 4 months, harvest the delicious sweet potatoes you’ve grown. The yellowing of the leaves (usually caused by the start of the fall season and the first frost) indicates that your sweet potatoes are ready to be harvested.
Store your bounty in a humid warm place (80°F or 27°C) for two weeks. This helps the sweet potatoes create a layer, which protects them and let you store them in a temperate room for up to an entire year. Baked sweet potatoes with ghee and honey are a wonderful and comforting impromptu meal. Enjoy!
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